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REVIEW: Fur People

fir peopleAuthor: Vicki Hendricks

Winona Woods Books, 2013

Filed Under: Thriller, Chick-Lit

C4 Ratings...out of 10
Language..... 8
Entertainment..... 9
Depth..... 10

Dubbed by no less an authority than Megan Abbott as “the Queen of Noir,” Vicki Hendricks specializes in violent characters and bleak settings.  Her new novel, Fur People, is almost  almost – a departure from this and might even veer slightly into the fuzzy feelgood world of chick lit.

Where characters like Sherri in Miami Purity or Ramona in Iguana Love or Renata in Cruel Poetry  are hard-edged, unsentimental femmes fatales, with whom you associate at your own risk, the women in Fur People are idealistic do-gooders with noble, humanitarian impulses – but with whom you still associate at your own risk!  Not for fear of getting shot or killed, but like all Hendricks’ characters, these women exist outside the mainstream.

Sunny Lytle, the main protagonist, is described as a “hoarder”:  she never saw an animal she could turn away.  As the novel starts, she is being evicted from her apartment in Louisville by her landlord when he comes to collect the rent, horrified by all the animals she keeps – cats, dogs, gerbils – and of course all the shit and stink and fur they leave behind.  Sunny is involved with Bear, an older married man who has taken her under his wing, part protégé, part lover.  Bear, whose hobby is collecting and refurbishing cars, offers to let Sunny use his bus to transport her “fur family” to DeLeon Springs, Florida, where she grew up.  
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REVIEW: The Rabbi’s Husband

Author: Brenda Barrie

2011, Gray Matter

Filed Under: Literary, Chick Lit, Short-Run

Find it on Goodreads

C4 Ratings...out of 10
Language..... 8
Entertainment..... 8
Depth..... 9

To describe The Rabbi’s Husband as “chick lit” would be both accurate and misleading.  Chick lit typically features a female protagonist whose womanhood is central to the plot and addresses issues pertaining to women in contemporary settings – gender equality, balancing motherhood and career, etc.  Moreover, the protagonist’s relationships with her family and friends constitute another important theme in the chick lit genre.  They are not “romance novels,” even when the relationship with the significant other is the central issue at stake.

These staples of chick lit are present in Barrie’s novel, but the plot also involves deeper questions of self-discovery, identity and authenticity within but not confined to Jewish practice and belief.
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REVIEW: Stray

Author: Rachel Vincent

2007, Mira

Filed Under: Horror, Romance, Chick Lit, Thrillers, Young Adult

C4 Ratings.....out of 10
Language..... 3
Entertainment..... 5
Depth..... 3

I’m not sure I can say that I liked Stray. I wouldn’t read it again and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else (unless they were a werecat enthusiast, in which case I’m sure it would come to mind, and I would bring it up, and I would say, check this shit out). But I did read it in one week. Which says something.

First, a few fun facts about werecats:

  1. Werecats have this amazing sense of smell. Lines including descriptions such as: “my citrus-scented pants” and “wholesome femininity layered with Herbal Essences and cherry Bubble Yum” really clue the reader in.  Over and over and over again
  2. Werecats do not have nine lives. As the protagonist puts it, “that would be cool, though.” Maybe her werebabies will have that gene?
  3. Good werecats don’t eat human flesh. Bad “strays” do.

Did I mention that I trash-picked this book from the trash? Yep. Found this gem on the side of the road. Look at the cover: You would have picked it up, too. There’s a sex kitten right on the cover and you wonder, is that a tattoo on her lower back, or a scratch mark?

I’m not always a fast reader. Sometimes I forget my book at home and end up spending the day with the Metro. Or I switch around, hopping from story to story.

One week says something. It says that I opted to read about werecat love triangles when I could have been out at the bar or catching up on my new favorite British teen drama, “Skins” or, you know, going to the library for a better book. It says that I remembered to bring it with me to work everyday so that I could read it on the train and on the elliptical machine at the gym. It says that I maybe hunted around my room for it late one night when it was hiding under my blankets and I really wanted to know whether or not the protagonist was going to be raped by the bad guy.


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REVIEW: Wetlands

Author: Charlotte Roche, translated from the German by Tim Mohr

2009, Grove Press

Filed under Literary, Chick Lit

C4 Ratings.....out of 10
Language..... 7
Entertainment..... 7
Depth..... 8

Be warned, this book is rife with graphic language and the descriptions are often quite prurient, sexually, scatalogically, and otherwise. I won’t really be able to quote or fully express what exactly Roche discusses in this novel without the review being flagged NSFW. That said, this is an excellent novel, and the explicit writing certainly lends itself to that. You’ll see above that I’ve added “Chick Lit” as one of the labels. That’s a borderline definition. I feel it is fair to an extent (although I, personally, tend to regard chick lit as the antithesis to literary novels). It is, especially the first half, a novel very much concerned with the intimate details of women, particularly their relationships to their own bodies. But there is no name dropping of fashion accessories or anything silly like that, and this is undeniably an intelligent and emotionally complex book.
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REVIEW: Mercury in Retrograde

mercuryAuthor: Paula Froelich

Atria, 2009

Best ebook deal: Sony’s eBook Store or Barnes & Noble

Filed under: Chick Lit

C4 Ratings.....out of 10
Language..... 5
Entertainment..... 8
Depth..... 4

In her first novel, Mercury in Retrograde, Paula Froelich channels a less refined Plum Sykes or a less witty Candace Bushnell—and true to her previous gig as The New York Post’s Page Six gossip editor, her fictional attempt harnesses tidbits of New York society that only a gossip columnist could wrap her charms around.

The tale begins with the disclaimer “When Mercury is in retrograde, anything bad that can happen will.” One character’s name, not so cleverly, is Penelope Mercury, but she is no more a focus of the story than the other two main characters: Lena Lippencrass and Dana Gluck. Froelich superficially meanders through their not-so-charmed lives: Mercury is a down on her luck 27-year-old roving reporter who is gunning for a promotion but instead gets canned; Dana is a 30-something workaholic lawyer who has cloistered herself within the confines of her apartment since her husband left her for a Victoria’s Secret model; and Lena (referred to throughout most of the book as “Lipstick” due to an unfortunate lipstick-related car crash) is a 27-year-old socialite working for a renowned fashion magazine and living a glamorous life until her parents decide to cut her off.
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